FM 31-27 Pack Animals in Support of Special Operations Forces

Headquarters, Department of the Army

  • 131 pages
  • DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION:  Distribution restricted to United States (U.S.) Government agencies to protect technical or operational
    information. This determination was made on 15 February 2000. Requests for this document will be referred to Commander, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, ATTN: AOJK-DT-SF, Fort Bragg, NC 28310.
  • February 15, 2000


This manual provides guidance for training Army special operations forces (ARSOF) personnel in the techniques of animal pack transport and for organizing and operating pack animal units. It captures some of the expertise and techniques that have been lost in the United States (U.S.) Army over the last 50 years. The chapters on care, feeding, and veterinary medicine compose a considerable portion of the manual; however, this material is not intended as a substitute for veterinary expertise nor will it make a veterinarian out of the reader. ARSOF personnel must have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy and physiology, common injuries, diseases (particularly of the feet), feeding, and watering to properly care for the animals and to avoid abusing them from overloading or overworking.

Though many types of beasts of burden may be used for pack transportation, this
manual focuses on horses, mules, and a few other animals. One cannot learn how
to pack an animal by reading; there is no substitute for having a horse or mule
while you practice loading a packsaddle. However, the manual is useful for
anyone going into an environment where these skills are applicable.
Field Manual (FM) 31-27 is a guide for ARSOF personnel to use when employed
in training or combat situations using pack animals. It is not a substitute for
training with pack animals in the field.

The proponent of this publication is the United States Army John F. Kennedy
Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS). Submit comments and
recommended changes to Commander, USAJFKSWCS, ATTN: AOJK-DT-SF,
Fort Bragg, NC 28310.

Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not
refer exclusively to men.

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